The Laundress: Bacteria concerns prompt safety notice

A luxury laundry detergent and home cleaning company, whose products are sold in Canada, has identified dozens of products it says may contain “elevated levels of bacteria.”

US-based brand The Laundress released a safety notice on Nov. 17, advising customers to stop using all of its products immediately.

It came after the company says it “identified the potential presence of elevated levels of bacteria in some” products, which presented a safety concern.

The Laundress says it is not aware of any adverse health impacts related to the issue.

In an update Monday, the company released a five-page list of products affected by the safety notice and said it is working with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) “as expeditiously as possible to put the safety of our community above everything else.” .”

Nearly all of the company’s detergent and home cleaning products were listed as out of stock on The Laundress website as of Monday.

“We understand the frustration you feel not having all the information, so it is important to update you as we know more,” a statement from the company said.

“Our work with the CPSC is still in progress. However, in answer to your questions, we are sharing our most current list of impacted products. Out of an abundance of caution, we continue to ask that you stop using any The Laundress products until our review is complete.”

Health Canada has not released any recalls or safety alerts involving The Laundress as of midday Monday.

A Health Canada spokesperson referred questions about any efforts to issue a recall of The Laundress products in Canada to the company.


The Laundress has offered a series of frequently asked questions in response to the safety notice, saying it identified “opportunistic” pathogens, including Pseudomonas, a type of bacteria commonly found in soil and water.

The Laundress says at the levels detected, this type of bacteria could present a risk of infection.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which causes the most infections among Pseudomonas in humans according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lives in the environment and can spread in health-care settings through exposure to contaminated water or soil, as well as person-to- person through contaminated hands, equipment and surfaces.

“People with a healthy immune system are usually not affected by these bacteria,” The Laundress said. “People with weakened immune systems or external medical devices who are exposed to Pseudomonas face a risk of serious infection that may require medical treatment. The bacteria can enter the body if inhaled, through the eyes, or through a break in the skin.”


Anyone with questions about their health is asked to contact their doctor, the company says.

Customers can go to The Laundress website to see if any products they own are part of the safety notice.

Those who live in the US and Canada are asked to provide product details and proof of purchase so they can be contacted for reimbursement.

“In the meantime, please do not throw your product away as it may be necessary for proof of purchase,” the company said.

The Laundress says while the risk of bacteria being present on cleaned clothes is low, it recommends rewashing and drying clothes for those who are immunocompromised or who have a break in their skin.

Customers could also run their washer on empty using another product or cleaner and run their dryer, also empty, on a short, hot cycle. The company says those with concerns can also clean their dishes and surfaces again using a different product.

“They’re doing their due diligence. They’re obviously being very cautious because they understand that it’s very serious,” Patric Richardson, a Minnesota-based cleaning expert known as the “Laundry Evangelist,” who also mentions The Laundress in his book “Laundry Love,” told in a telephone interview on Monday.

He said this type of incident involving bacteria and laundry detergent is the first he has heard of.

“When you have a product that’s as clean as The Laundress, you don’t have a lot of … preservatives so you know it’s just something that could happen given that they’re making a clean product,” Richardson said.

He says customers could rewash their clothes using a comparable plant-based detergent and use a 50-50 mixture of vinegar to water for household cleaning.

As an alternative, customers could also opt for hosiery or baby detergent, which are generally made using fewer chemicals, to wash their clothes.

“I’m very confident that The Laundress is going to take care of its customers,” Richardson said. “They’re not going to leave anyone hanging.”

The Laundress releases safety notice by CTV News on Scribd

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